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89, Andover Road
The land upon which this shop is built was, until the second half of the 19th century, an agricultural field called “The Lypiatt”. It formed a wedge-like shape stretching eastwards from Westall Green, between Andover Road and Lansdown Road.
Between 1810 and 1861 the horse-drawn Gloucester & Cheltenham Tramroad passed almost in front of this site, connecting the quarries on Leckhampton Hill with Gloucester Docks. In the early 19th century the scene would have looked very different from today, when this area was quite rural and well outside the boundaries of the town.
There was a building on the site of 89 Andover Road before 1857 and it appears in the Old Town Survey map of that year. It seems to have been behind the present building and at right angles to it and still existed on the 1966 Ordnance Survey map. It must have been removed sometime later in the 20th century and there is no indication as to its original function.
By 1885 a building existed corresponding to the footprint of the present 89 Andover Road and this seems to have been an extension to the earlier building at the rear, mentioned above. This property sat in splendid isolation on a large plot of land with trees, probably an orchard. At that time Westal Green was just that – an open green space. The petrol station was not built until the 1920s, to a design by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis, of Portmeirion fame. It was supposed to resemble a Chinese pagoda!
In the late 19th century 89 Andover Road was known as Inkerman Gardens, together with the cottages next door to the right. It was a market garden and associated shop named after the Battle of Inkerman in 1854, when Britain and its allies fought the Russians in the Crimea.
By 1897 Inkerman Gardens belonged to Mr Charles Henry Reason, a market gardener and shop-keeper. In this shop he sold a wide range of flowers, fruit and vegetables, advertising his produce often in the local newspapers. Charles was born in Cheltenham in 1868 and followed his father Edwin into the market garden business. For 15 years Charles Reason was the organist at Salem Baptist Chapel and later was associated with St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Montpellier. He was a keen follower of cricket and a staunch supporter of the Liberal Party. In 1913 he retired from the market garden business and became the second man in Cheltenham to run a motor taxi business (the first was William Smith at Suffolk Mews - see the entry for 68-70 Suffolk Road).
Charles Reason sold Inkerman Gardens to Mr George Grant, who operated a pony and cart delivery service. By 1923 the shop was surrounded by glasshouses, in which some of the fruit and vegetables were grown. George Grant was here until the early 1930s, when much of the market garden was sold off for building, and the shop name was changed to Westal Stores, a greengrocery.
In 1931 the greengrocers shop was acquired by Oliver Herbert Goulding and was run by his wife May. They were also the proprietors of the nearby petrol filling station in the 1930s. Mr Goulding only owned the Westal Stores for a couple of years, selling it for £180 in 1933 to a young lady called Miss Kathleen Fry, who had previously managed the shop for him. Unfortunately Kathleen was declared bankrupt on 26th June 1935 at the age of just 23, having been obliged to sell the shop in the previous year.
By 1936 the shop had been taken over by Mr Laurence Hadley. Calling himself a "fruiterer", Mr Hadley remained here until 1943 when he enlisted in the British Army as a Signaller. The business was then bought by Mr Arthur Wilson Stancombe and he continued the greengrocery until at least the early 1960s.
Westal Stores then passed to Mr Bill Attwood and his wife Eve. They continued to sell fruit and vegetables but also sold a variety of items, such as ice-cream. When they retired from the shop it became first a freezer centre and then a bakery, finally closing in about 2014. It remained empty for about a year and was purchased in 2015 by Belinda Wilson as an office location for her existing business glosjobs.co.uk and for a new business called www.glos.info.
The shop was demolished and rebuilt, finally re-opening in January 2017. As the names imply these companies are internet-based and provide platforms for advertising jobs and a wide variety of other events, news, goods and services throughout Gloucestershire.
Researcher: Stuart Manton (March 2017)
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